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    Some driving tests may be affected by winter weather over the next few days.

    The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) doesn't conduct practical driving tests in adverse weather conditions, for example when the roads are icy. This is for the safety of both the person taking the test and the examiner.

    If you're due to take your practical test, follow the advice given on your appointment email or letter. Call your test centre only if there is snow or ice in your local area on the day of your test.

    When to phone your test centre
    It's best to phone your test centre around two hours before your test is due to start. This is because conditions on the roads may improve during the day, and driving tests can then go ahead.

    If your test is early in the morning, call as soon as you can on the day. If you call the day before, the test centre won't be able to tell you if your test will go ahead.

    If your test is in the afternoon, call the test centre later in the morning. The test centre is more likely to know if the roads will be suitable for your test.

    If nobody answers the phone, and the conditions in your area aren't looking too bad, it's likely that the driving examiners are out:

    • checking the local roads to see if driving tests can go ahead

    • taking driving tests because the conditions are suitable

    However, this isn't a guarantee that your test will go ahead. Please call the test centre again or go there in time for your test.

    If your test cannot go ahead
    If your practical driving test is cancelled another appointment will be arranged automatically at no further cost. However, the DSA don't pay any out-of-pocket expenses.

    A new appointment date is usually sent within three working days. This may take up to seven days when there's a period of prolonged bad weather.

    If your test hasn't been rebooked at that time, you should call our customer service centre

  2. Plans to trial a new, single, on-road motorcycle test were published today by Road Safety Minister Mike Penning.

    The report from the motorcycle test review is the result of work the department has undertaken with motorcycle groups, training organisations and others since June 2010.

    Mike Penning said:

    “I want to make sure that we have a test which prepares bikers properly for the road so the motorcycle test review is a top priority for me.

    "My goal has always been a single, on-road test which is rigorous and reflects real-life conditions. By working with the motorcycle training industry and others we have identified a set of changes which have the potential to deliver this.

    "It is also my aim that these changes will open up the test to those living in areas which are poorly served by the current network of-off road test centres.

    "I am grateful to all those who have given their time and expertise to the review and the focus will now be on starting trials of these proposals."

    The test is currently carried out in two parts, one on-road and one off-road.

    The report suggests a new hazard avoidance manoeuvre which – subject to further trialling - could be carried out on the road. There is also a proposal which will be given further consideration, that slow manoeuvres such as slalom, figure of eight, and U turn could be examined at training centres by delegated examiners ahead of the main test.

    The next step will be to hold wider trials, with test-level candidates, in the new year. This process will be followed by public consultation on the proposed changes.

    The Department for Transport hopes, subject to further work on safety, cost and value for money, that there would be a phased introduction of on-road testing moving to general adoption of the new test by the end of 2011 or early 2012. This will include on-road testing in priority areas which are poorly served by the current network of off road test centres.

  3. From the bbc website.

    The government has temporarily relaxed the legal restrictions on the length of time lorry drivers can work to help ease the backlog caused by snow.

    Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said allowing hauliers to drive for an extra hour a day for the next four days would help deliveries of "vital supplies".

    Royal Mail reported problems with about 10% of deliveries on Friday, and pumps at hundreds of garages could run dry.

    Forecasters are warning freezing conditions could continue next week.

    There are Met Office warnings of icy roads covering much of the UK, while Saturday's sporting fixtures have also been hit, with all Scottish Premier League football cancelled while rugby union and horse racing has also been affected.

    Seven people have also died in weather-related incidents.

    Two men, aged 30 and 56 and both from Nottinghamshire, were killed in a motorway crash on the M62 in Humberside on Friday morning after their pick-up truck was in a collision with a lorry.

    Humberside police said the lorry driver, a 36-year-old Manchester man, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

    Grace Simpson and Jessica Lakin, both 19, were killed in a crash involving their car and a Royal Mail van on the A595 in Carlisle on Thursday. A Cumbria police spokesman said the treacherous road conditions "appeared to have been a factor".

    Police in Cumbria are also investigating the deaths of two elderly people - 80-year-old Lillian Jenkinson from Workington and 84-year-old William Wilson from Waitby, near Kirkby - who died in their gardens in freezing conditions in separate incidents.

    A 57-year-old man who went to the aid of a driver whose car had crashed in Bellerby, North Yorkshire, on Thursday, died after he was hit by another vehicle.

    'Exceptional conditions'

    Announcing the temporary driving relaxation - which has increased the daily driving limit from nine to 10 hours - Mr Hammond said: "During these exceptional conditions we must do everything we can to keep Britain moving.

    "That is why I have authorised a temporary relaxation of drivers' hours and working time rules for all HGV drivers over the next four days. This will ensure that vital supplies get to their destination on time."

    The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers, which represents the majority of oil distribution companies in Britain, weclomed the relaxation, saying it would help distributors catch up with any backlog of orders.

    A Downing Street spokesman said there were no major concerns over supplies of food, petrol, diesel or gas.

    Brian Madderson, chairman of the Independent Petrol Retailers Association, said the relaxation should stop shortages on forecourts this weekend, but warned that crude oil prices had hit an all time high, and that the weather would push up petrol prices.

    "Over the next two or three weeks the cost of product is definitely going to go up and this is being said by the fuel analysts, largely due to the wintry weather on the continent of Europe which is pushing up demand for heating oil," he said.

    Paul Tollhurst, operations director at Royal Mail, said two million households received no mail at all on Friday but the improvement in weather had meant it could "start pumping mail through" on Saturday.

    "We are taking on additional trucks and indeed we've got some extra train services running both northbound out of London towards Glasgow and up the East Coast mainline towards Newcastle," he said.

  4. Free soft drinks for designated drivers this Christmas


    Designated drivers will be rewarded in thousands of pubs across the country as part of the THINK! Christmas drink drive campaign, launched today by Road Safety Minister Mike Penning.

    Designated drivers will be rewarded in thousands of pubs across the country as part of the THINK! Christmas drink drive campaign, launched today by Road Safety Minister Mike Penning.

    In addition to running radio advertising, posters in pub washrooms and online search activity, THINK! has teamed up with Coca-Cola’s Designated Driver campaign to offer drivers free soft drinks in more than 8,000 participating venues across Britain as part of the Driver Friendly campaign.

    Mike Penning said:

    "Drivers should be in no doubt that if they get behind the wheel after drinking this Christmas, they risk losing their licence as well as facing a fine and even a prison sentence.

    "Christmas should be a time for a celebration not a night in the cells. That is why we have teamed up with Coca-Cola and pub chains this Christmas to reward designated drivers as well as reminding drivers of the consequences of getting a drink drive conviction.

    "Last year 380 people were killed in accidents where the driver was over the limit. That is why our message is clear: don't drink and drive."

    ACPO lead on roads policing, Chief Constable Mick Giannasi said:

    "This year we are using information from the public to target those areas where drink driving is a particular problem and so the chances of getting caught are greater than ever.

    "If the police stop a driver, and there is any suspicion that they have been drinking, then they will be asked to provide a breath test and drivers should be in no doubt that if they are found to be over the limit they will be brought before the courts.

    "Many drivers don’t realise that alcohol stays in the system for a number of hours, and that they could still be over the limit the next morning when driving to work or dropping the children off at school. That is why we are asking drivers to be safe, not sorry, this Christmas."

    Jon Woods, Country Manager, Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland said:

    "With Christmas just around the corner, our consumers are gearing up to celebrate. We know how much they enjoy the festive period and we don’t want to dampen their spirits.

    "This Christmas we’re proud to be partnering with the Government’s THINK! initiative to help raise awareness of responsible drinking. By rewarding those drivers who choose not to drink with a free Coke or diet Coke, we can encourage people to do the right thing while still enjoying a great night out. It’s a different approach to responsible drinking but our consumers love it."

    Designated drivers should ask at the bar about how to take advantage of the buy one soft drink, get one free offer at participating pubs.

    The THINK! drink drive radio advertising campaign will run from 1 December 2010 to 1 January 2011 and posters will appear in pub washrooms from 6 December to 2 January.